(Patriot.Buzz) – Increasingly worried about the downward trend of education quality, an Oregon-based group for parents is angry due to the Oregon State Board of Education’s decision to no longer require students to show they have mastered reading, writing, and math using a standardized test to graduate from high school.
Oregon Moms Union President MacKensey Pulliam said, “It’s not surprising that they’ve continued to push off the implementation of new graduation requirements.” She added, “They always say that the agenda has something to do with underserved communities and marginalized students and how the test does them a disservice.”
Pulliam believes the tests are meant to ensure students are prepared or to provide additional help if needed, suggesting that perhaps the standards are being removed to give an illusion of improvement.
The Oregon State Board unanimously decided to extend the pause on the need for 11th-grade students to prove their reading, writing, and math proficiency through a test or a work portfolio. Previously, if students didn’t meet the requirements, they had to do so in their senior year. Even though standardized tests will still be given, they won’t impact whether a student graduates. Also, students no longer need to make up for any lack of proficiency during their final school year.
The suspension of this graduation requirement will last until 2027. The initial policy began in 2012, and in 2021, it was halted during the pandemic. Pulliam feels that the decision essentially turns an Oregon diploma into a mere participation award, as students aren’t required to prove certain proficiencies to graduate.
Pulliam conveyed the frustration of many parents, saying, “But I think that most parents feel that instead of lowering the standards, we need to be doing more to catch our kids up on learning loss from the pandemic and get them to the level they need to be at in order to reach those standards to graduate, instead of just getting rid of the standards and allowing them to graduate when they’re completely unprepared.”
The State Board made this decision due to concerns that test results unfairly affected students of color and those with disabilities. The decision came after a research report from the Oregon Department of Education was given to the Senate Committee on Education, which showed that academic outcomes could often be predicted based on race and other factors.